India digs up old coordinates: China’s Galwan claim of 1960 stopped short of faceoff point

  • China’s claim on parts of the Galwan river valley was first made in the boundary talks of 1960 but the coordinates it gave did not include the site of the current faceoff.
  • It, in fact, stopped well short of the point where River Galwan meets the River Shyok, referred to as the ‘estuary’ in Chinese statement of — better known as Y-Nala or Y-junction to Indian forces.
  • The coordinates given by the Chinese side in 1960 of the point where it believed its claim line crossed the River Galwan was: Longitude 78° 13’ E, Latitude 34. 46’ N. This was after the Indian delegation led by then Joint Secretary (East) Jagat Singh Mehta and supported by head of history division Dr S Gopal specifically asked the question on the coordinates of where the new claim line passed.
  • This claim was later opposed by the Indian side as valleys of Galwan and Chip Chap river, among other areas, were not part of the claim line presented in 1956. This was recorded by the Indian team in the joint India-China report.
  • India has made it clear that it will continue to patrol up to the area east of the Galwan estuary as it has done regularly in the past.
  • It’s in this context that the Chinese claim on Galwan River Valley becomes controversial because it’s unclear if the coordinates meant are the same as 1960, which is also the point it forces roughly came up to in 1962.

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